Sand Pail Picnic

A picnic at the beach is child's play. For party hosts unsure of how to satisfy both kids and adults, the solution is as simple as a pail--not for building sand castles, but for carrying the makings of a meal.

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Forget tired standbys such as peanut butter and jelly. Instead, pack your sand pails with something interesting to all ages. How about Rolled Vegetable Sandwiches and Seashell Salad? Before you say "Yeah, right. Kids will never eat that," read our tips and recipes that prove you can put smiles on every face. Here's how.

 Involve the children. They're more likely to try the final product if they help in the preparation. Start at the grocery store. Let your buggymates make some of the selections. For the veggie wraps, tell them they can pretend to be Bugs Bunny on a search for carrots. And almost all kids love cheese, so let them choose an assortment. Then wheel down the noodle aisle and let them pick their favorite shape for pasta salad. Chicken and shrimp are usually popular, so the final part should be a cinch.

 Speak their language. When enticing children with new foods, keep it simple. Introduce such spices as curry, garlic, and ginger by making up stories about them. Let the little helpers measure and mix the ingredients for the marinade; then have them give it a name, such as curry flurry or bull shark dip. They'll be proud of their creativity and more likely to gobble up the fare.

 Think sweet. Don't forget the ultimate crowd pleaser―dessert. Few treats are as heavenly as chocolate, and s'mores are fun for all ages to make. With our version, youngsters will have fun breaking up the white chocolate into chunks to add to the batter. They can pack one pail with cookies and another with marshmallows to haul to the beach.

 Ready, Set, Go. Now that you've finished prepping, grab the ready-made wares and head for the sand. While adults linger over dinner, keep the kids entertained with our delicious ice-cream version of kick the can. Little ones burn off energy while rolling the can around the beach for half an hour. They can cool down afterward with scoops of the ultimate summer treat.

Thirty minutes, hmm. Just enough time for you to relax, sip on a slushy drink, and toast all those happy faces.

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